Excerpts from Oakpark.com:
Jim Eggert will step down this summer after 13 years as chief of the River Forest Fire Department, but he’ll remain on a consulting basis to mentor his replacement, finish projects and serve as the department’s institutional memory.
As part of the responsibilities spelled out in a post-employment agreement approved unanimously by the River Forest Board of Trustees on April 24, Eggert will continue to provide Deputy Chief Kurt Bohlmann guidance in the areas of budgeting and human resources and other departmental operations and concerns after he becomes chief sometime this summer.
Eggert also will handle the post-delivery tasks for a new fire truck and provide some assistance with the West Suburban Consolidated Dispatch Center, which serves River Forest, Oak Park, Elmwood Park and Park Ridge. Forest Park will soon join the agency as well.
The 62-year-old Eggert, who has served as River Forest fire chief since 2004, will do 40 hours of in-person work annually and unlimited telephone conversations through December 2019.
In exchange, the village will pay for Eggert’s medical insurance and his wife’s Medicare supplement. He will not get sick leave or a departmental pension; he did not apply for a departmental pension. Cost of the agreement over the two-and-a-half years is estimated at $25,000.
The contract will allow Bohlmann to transition effectively into his new role and give him the time to also manage both roles while he also delegates the authority of the deputy chief’s position to the lieutenants.
Bohlmann’s current job will be eliminated in next year’s budget as a cost-cutting measure, saving the village an estimated $150,000. Discussions about cutting the deputy chief’s job and Eggert’s retirement were going on simultaneously.
Eggert has been a firefighter his entire adult life. The son and brother of firefighters, the Hinsdale native worked a little more than six years for the department in his hometown and went to the Tri-State Fire Protection District in 1978. He rose in the ranks during his 26-year career there, serving as chief for about 10 years until his retirement in 2004. He gets a pension from that district.
River Forest has a 22-member fire department with 18 firefighters, a chief, deputy chief, fire marshal, and a lieutenant to coordinate departmental training.